Biotechnology lessons for robotics: Adapting new business models to accelerate innovation

Abstract – The robotics industry is achieving a level of commercial maturity as evidenced by innovative products brought to market, and by the increasing pace of emerging robotics companies being acquired by larger players in a diversity of industries. However, there are challenges with accelerating the rate and scale of innovation in this industry. Our hypothesis is that while there are remaining technological challenges, the largest challenge is for the industry to adapt by exploitation of business models that focus more intently on validating product/market fit, building teams to span seamlessly from laboratory to market, and on developing creative structure and vehicles to provide the needed resources to commercialize.  To this end, we suggest that the robotics field could adapt approaches from the emerging “business model playbook” that are now being used in the field of biotechnology.  These industries do compare somewhat in that they are each technologically driven, have long, high- risk development cycles, and have the need for high levels of capital, compared to the software industry.  In this paper we review what has been accomplished in biotechnology, and also suggest how these lessons could be implemented in the field of robotics. 

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